Guinn Williams

Guinn Williams

If you look at the picture above, and you’re a fan of old Western Movies, you probably recognize the face of Guinn Williams. He was a star in B-Westerns and a comic sidekick in more well known Westerns. He also has a baseball connection.

Williams was born in Texas in 1899, son of a rancher who dabbled in politics (in Texas that’s a step down from ranching). He joined the US Army in World War I, becoming an officer. He apparently turned down an invitation to attend West Point for a job in a rodeo. There he caught the eye of Will Rogers, who was just turning his talents to the movies. Williams played a lot of “heavies” (that’s the villain) in silent movies. He was 6’2″ and burly so it was a natural.

After “the talkies” began, he became a star in a lot of “drug store cowboy” movies (but not a “singing cowboy” type–unlike John Wayne who was at one time a singing cowboy). With a certain amount of stardom from his cowboy roles, he moved into A-Pictures (those are the more important flicks), frequently as a comic sidekick. He teamed with Alan Hale, Sr (not the skipper in “Gilligan’s Island”-that’s Hale, Jr.) as the comic cowboys in “Santa Fe Trail”, one of the biggest hits of 1940. If you can find it, the movie is kind of fun, but utter garbage historically. His career continued into the early 1960s with roles in “The Alamo” and “The Comancheros”, both with John Wayne. He died in 1962.

“Fine,” I hear you say, “but you said he had something to do with baseball, didn’t you?” Yes, I did. During the period between the end of World War I and Williams’ discovery by Will Rogers, he’s supposed to have tried his hand at baseball. And that’s as far as it goes. There are some sources that indicate he played professional baseball, but obviously not at the Major League level. Other sources say he was in semi-pro ball. No on lists a team, or where the team played. BaseballReference.com doesn’t mention him in the minors and Retrosheet has no mention of him (and the Internet Movie Database is silent about baseball). That makes semi-pro more likely, but not certain. Frankly, I don’t know where he played, at what level, or at what position.

So part of the reason for doing this little number is to make a plea for anyone who might know anything about his baseball career to comment below. I’d love to find out the details. Until then, we will have to be satisfied knowing that a familiar movie face also has a baseball record somewhere.

 

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4 Responses to “Guinn Williams”

  1. Jackie, The Baseball Bloggess Says:

    This story includes a quote from Williams that he had “an offer from the Chicago White Sox.” The article continues: Williams “learned that being the best baseball player in Decatur did not make him a major-league prospect and fell back on his ranch skills to earn a living on the rodeo circuit.”
    http://smmercury.com/2012/08/23/bartee-haile-big-boy-williams-has-eerie-premonition-of-his-death/

  2. glenrussellslater Says:

    I wasn’t able to find much in terms of Guinn Williams playing baseball (other than what you already mentioned), but I did find two baseball MOVIES in which he acted in. (Both in 1927)———

    “Slide, Kelly, Slide!” and “Babe Comes Home”, which also featured a few baseball stars.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slide,_Kelly,_Slide

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babe_Comes_Home

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